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NRNP 6665

Week 1: Child and Adolescent Assessment

All diagnoses, from infancy to adulthood, begin with an examination. While an organic basis for most medical disorders can be determined through the use of diagnostic testing, the field of psychiatry is different in that patients cannot be sent to the lab for blood tests to determine the degree of depression. Similarly, patients cannot be sent to the radiology department for a “scan” to determine the severity of their bipolar disorder. Instead, the field of psychiatry must use psychiatric assessments, such as the comprehensive integrated physical exam, diagnostic interviews, and questionnaires to make diagnoses. These tools must be specialized to address the needs of children and adolescents.

Diagnostic assessment of the child and adolescent is a specialized area of expertise. The PMHNP will often see children who have already been seen by a primary care provider. Many PCPs are comfortable handling attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other straightforward childhood disorders. That means that the PMHNP will often treat the more complicated patients. This week, you explore psychiatric assessment techniques and tools for children and adolescents. You also examine the role of the parent/guardian in the assessment process for this patient population.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

· Evaluate comprehensive integrated psychiatric assessment techniques for children and adolescents

· Recommend assessment questions for child and adolescent patients

· Explain the importance of thorough psychiatric assessment for children and adolescents

· Identify rating scales that are appropriate for child/adolescent psychiatric assessment

· Identify psychiatric treatments appropriate for children and adolescents

· Explain the role of the parent/guardian in child/adolescent psychiatric assessment


Learning Resources


Required Readings (click to expand/reduce)



Hilt, R. J., & Nussbaum, A. M. (2016). DSM-5 pocket guide for child and adolescent mental health. American Psychiatric Association Publishing.

· Chapter 1, “Introduction”

· Chapter 4, “The 15-Minute Pediatric Diagnostic Interview”

· Chapter 5, “The 30-Minute Pediatric Diagnostic Interview”

· Chapter 6, “DSM-5 Pediatric Diagnostic Interview”

· Chapter 9, “The Mental Status Examination: A Psychiatric Glossary”

· Chapter 13, “Mental Health Treatment Planning”


Srinath, S., Jacob, P., Sharma, E., & Gautam, A. (2019). Clinical practice guidelines for assessment of children and adolescents. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 61(2), 158–175. http://doi.org/10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_580_18


Thapar, A., Pine, D. S., Leckman, J. F., Scott, S., Snowling, M. J., & Taylor, E. A. (2015). Rutter’s child and adolescent psychiatry (6th ed.). Wiley Blackwell.

· Chapter 32, “Clinical assessment and diagnostic formulation”


Required Media (click to expand/reduce)



Symptom Media. (2014). Mental status exam B-6. [Video]. https://go.openathens.net/redirector/waldenu.edu?url=https://video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/mental-status-exam-b-6/cite?context=channel:volume-2-new-releases-assessment-tools-mental-status-exam-series


Western Australian Clinical Training Network. (2016, August 4). Simulation scenario-adolescent risk assessment [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNF1FIKHKEU


YMH Boston. (2013, May 22). Vignette 5 – Assessing for depression in a mental health appointment [Video]YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gm3FLGxb2ZU



Recommended Reading (click to expand/reduce)


Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2015). Kaplan & Sadock’s synopsis of psychiatry (11th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.

· Chapter 31, “Child Psychiatry”

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